News Article

Exceptional Circumstances

Is your work being affected by illness or personal circumstances?

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Sometimes unexpected things can happen that have an impact on your studies, and the Exceptional Circumstances (EC) process is available to let the university know that you are having problems. You can submit an EC to request a further assessment opportunity, and for non-exam assessments you can also get an automated extension of 7 calendar days.

We've written a brief summary of the process below, but please visit our ECs webpage to get the full information.



Extension requests will be automatically granted without you needing to give a reason or evidence. Extensions are for 7 calendar days, or if your module is worth 60 credits you can get an extension of 14 calendar days.

There is a limit on the number of extensions you can get - you can only have extensions in a maximum of 3 assessments in each semester.

Your request will be granted automatically, unless you have already had your maximum number of requests, and will be recorded on the system without anyone reading it. 

Please note that you can't ask for another extension or for a longer extension. If the extension wasn't long enough or you've already had the maximum number of extensions for the semester, you can still submit an EC claim asking for a further assessment opportunity.

**When requesting an extension you must make sure you give the correct submission date - if you put the wrong date you will be given the wrong extension deadline and risk submitting the work late. The School will always go by what should have been the correct extension deadline; not what you were given after putting in the wrong date.**


Further assessment opportunities

If you're asking for another assessment opportunity you will need to explain what's happened and have valid ECs.

ECs are defined as circumstances outside of your control, which negatively affect your academic performance or prevent you from completing your assessment. In most cases these circumstances should be unforeseen or unexpected, but the University understands there are some exceptions.

The circumstances should have occurred close to the date of your assessment(s) or during a period when you were preparing for the assessment(s).

The following are some examples of exceptional circumstances:

  • Serious, short-term illness or injury.
  • Ongoing illness or disability that has worsened, including mental health conditions.
  • Symptoms of an infectious disease that could be harmful if passed to others.
  • Death or signifiant illness of a close relative or friend.
  • Unexpected caring responsibilities.
  • Significant domestic and/or personal problems that led to acute stress.
  • Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic incident.
  • A crime that had a substantial impact on you.
  • An accommodation crisis, such as eviction or an uninhabitable home.
  • An emergency or crisis that prevents you from doing your assessment.
  • A technical problem outside of your control, which prevented you from accessing an online assessment or teaching.
  • Safeguarding concerns.
  • Undertaking public duties, such as jury service or international sporting events.

Don’t worry if your circumstances don’t fit within the above examples, you can still submit a claim under the 'Other' category.


Are there any circumstances that won’t be accepted?

Claims are considered on an individual basis, but there are some circumstances that are not usually accepted:

  • Mistaking the date/time of an examination or coursework deadline
  • General pressure of academic work e.g. a number of assignments with similar deadlines, as you are expected to plan your work schedule.
  • Employment commitments (though there are some exceptions – seek advice).
  • Alarm failure on the morning of the examination
  • Holidays, house moves or other events that were planned or could be reasonably expected.
  • Minor transport disruption.
  • Computer, printer or other IT device failure where you should have backed up your work or left adequate time to access facilities.
  • Minor illnesses such as colds, unless symptoms are severe.
  • Minor life events, unless they had a disproportionate impact on you.


How do I submit ECs?

Requests for extensions and for further assessment opportunities must be submitted using the EC form on eVision; it is not enough just to tell your tutor.

If you are asking for an extension you do not need to give a reason or include evidence -  extensions of 7 calendar days are applied automatically, as long as you haven't reached the maximum.

If you are asking for another assessment opportunity the online form will ask you for some details about your circumstances. Try to give details on what has happened and how this has affected your ability to study. ECs claims are treated confidentially and only specific members of staff will have access to the details of your claim. You will also need to upload evidence - the ECs Code of Practice has guidance on what evidence you can use.

ASK can help you to complete the form if any part of it doesn’t make sense and you can visit our webpage for more detailed advice about EC claims.


Is there a deadline to submit an EC form?

You can submit an extension request up until the deadline for submitting your work.

If you're asking for another assessment attempt, you must submit your request within 7 calendar days of the original submission deadline. For example, if your assessment was due on 1 March, you can submit a request up to and including 8 March. If you already have an extension, your deadline for submitting an EC claim will still be 7 days from the original submission deadline.

It is really important that you submit an EC form as soon as you realise that your studies are going to be impacted. Don’t wait until your results are released because you will then need to consider an academic appeal.


What can I do if my claim is not accepted?

You can contact ASK for advice on your options  - depending on why it was rejected, you may be able to submit a new claim. Otherwise, you could try appealing when results are released.